I've been a bad, bad blogger recently because I've been working my fingers to the bone trying to get ready for vacation. Sorry.
Spring skiing. Splendid
Spring skiing. Splendid
Vacation eh? For someone who's scared of heights, doesn't like the cold and looks spectacularly silly in any hat, skiing may seem like an odd choice. But the family like it. So for the next two weeks we'll be in France (again), for a week of which we will be sliding down a big slippery hill on two planks, then riding up again on a cold wet windy seat, and repeating until it gets dark. And paying for the privilege.
But I am a veteran skier and I have strategies. Here they are.
1. Ski in late Spring. You can't lose. Either the snow has melted and you have a nice walk, or it hasn't. But you don't freeze on the long lift which inevitably stops ten yards from the top, as the ski school of five-year-olds who pushed past you in the queue, learn how not to get off.
2. Stop after each run, or during, or both, for a hot chocolate or a mulled wine, avoiding the very real danger of mountain dehydration. Keep a packet of Twiglets available for dipping purposes, and to replace essential minerals.
3. On a related note, always ski drunk, so you can be relaxed and even amused as you fall over, hit trees, lose a pole, collide with a French snowboarder, etc.
4a. If it's snowing, take the day off. The fresh snow will be ace the next day.
4b. If it's raining, take the day off. Rain on chairlifts is miserable.
4c. If it's sunny, take the day off. You risk sunburn ('raccoon eyes') or skin cancer in that thin mountain air.
4d. If it's foggy, go ski! No-one can see your poor technique, and the family get cold quickly, so they want to stop for chocolate more often.
5. If you need a pee, and have to duck into the trees, take your skis off first. Sliding out backwards with your salopettes round your ankles, leaving a trail, is not cool. Trust me on this one.
6. Use your poles to good effect. Plant between a Frenchman's skis to impede his progress as he tries to jump the line for the lift. Or when hurtling out of control, wedge them betwen the ground and your solar plexus for a very effective fast stop. Or as a last-ditch effort to snag the drag lift as you fall off it.
7. Avoid the rush! Don't start skiing until about 12:00, when all the French are stopping for lunch. Stop at 14:30, just as they're starting dessert.
8. If the Frenchman on the lift next to you lights a cigarette, don't be afraid to aim a fart at him. It's expected, although he may display his Gallic wit by trying to light it.
9. You know those pine trees all covered in snow? You know how soft they look? Well, they aren't.
10. Can we go sailing next year? Please?